Monday, April 23, 2007

Beijing Huanying Ni (Beijing Welcomes You)

I arrived in Beijing just over a week ago for a media job here. It's a one-year contract so we'll see how it goes.

Everyone asks me why Beijing? I've been thinking about working and living in China for a while, and with the 2008 Olympics coming next summer, I felt now was the time to come and take the plunge.

So far I'm glad I made it here. As part of my contract I got rent-free accommodation. It's located in Wangjing, in the north east part of the city. If you want to find it on the map, it's near the Holiday Inn Lido Hotel, one of the four Holiday Inns in the city.

Settling in had some of its challenges -- I got an internet connection (ADSL) before hot water (but that was resolved in a day), the apartment wasn't as fully furnished as promised, and the washing machine broke down. But I did a major shopping spree at Ikea nearby and a guy came by to fix the machine by opening the bottom of it and letting some gunk collected after a few years' of use spill out.

The people here are friendly and helpful. When I open my mouth, Beijingers can't decide if I'm Korean or Japanese with my funny accent. But when I tell them I'm from Canada, they explain things to me, and I just get a gist of what they're saying with my elementary Putonghua.

I hope to use this blog to document my adventures in Beijing, from tasting the best xiaolongbao to discovering flea market finds and learning more about the city. I hope you enjoy the ride!

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